Week In Review: Real And Spectacular Picks Roll Big Into Playoffs
A late-season surge of Teri Hatcher-inspired testosterone and winning picks powered us into the postseason, where the Cold, Hard Football Facts are generally at their most deadly.
After all, we have a full season of data under our belts to separate winners from losers.
We went 33-15 straight up and 29-19 (.604) against the spread over the final three weeks of the regular season.
We kicked off the postseason with a record of 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS.
We went 7-4 ATS in the 2011 postseason, which puts us at 10-5 (.667) ATS now in the last 15 NFL playoff games.
It doesn't hurt that we now have a dynamic duo of Real and Spectacular bosomy pigskin prognosticating muses to inspire our picks. We learned our lesson when we kicked the lovely Ms. Hatcher to the curb the first time.
This time, we've let the lovely Ms. Katherine Jenkins stick around just for old's times sake, and the quatre grand tetons of this terrific tandem of muses has provided the inspiration for our resurgence.
Only the Bengals failed to come through for us in the wildcard round.
We picked the Texans to win outright, but the 4.5-point number was big to us for a team that had struggled down the stretch and in a sport in which a quarter of all games are decided by a field goal or less.
Elsewhere, we bucked convention and expected big wins out of all the favorites in what is supposed to be tightly contested postseason football. All won big during a week in which the favorites were an easy 4-0 ATS.
Final 2012 regular-season performance
Week 1: 9-7 straight up; 7-9 ATS
Week 2: 10-6 straight up; 7-8-1 ATS
Week 3: 6-10 straight up; 8-7-1 ATS
Week 4: 10-5 straight up; 8-7 ATS
Week 5: 9-5 straight up; 6-8 ATS
Week 6: 5-9 straight up; 4-10 ATS
Week 7: 11-2 straight up; 6-5-2 ATS
Week 8: 10-4 straight up; 8-6 ATS
Week 9: 9-5 straight up; 6-8 ATS
Week 10: 9-4-1 straight up; 6-8 ATS
Week 11: 12-2 straight up; 9-4-1 ATS
Week 12: 10-6 straight up; 6-9-1 ATS
Week 13: 11-5 straight up; 7-8-1 ATS
Week 14: 11-5 straight up; 8-8 ATS
Week 15: 9-7 straight up; 9-7 ATS
Week 16: 12-4 straight up; 11-5 ATS
Week 17: 12-4 straight up; 9-7 ATS
Year to date: 165-90-1 straight up; 125-124-7 (.502) ATS
History to date ATS (2009-2012): 546-460 (.543); 37 winning weeks; 19 losing weeks, 12 weeks at .500
Wildcard week: 4-0 straight up; 3-1 ATS
Wildcard Week in Review
Cincinnati at Houston (-4.5)
Our pick: Houston 23, Cincinnati 21
Final score: Houston 19, Cincinnati 13
Result: A loss for CHFF (1-0 straight up; 0-1 ATS)
What we said: “The Texans are still, overall, the better team. And Schaub’s counterpart, Cincy quarterback Andy Dalton, is fronted by one of the worst offensive lines in football: No. 28 on the Offensive Hog Index. Houston responds with what is still a great defensive front.
“J.J. Watt and friends rank No. 3 on the Defensive Hog Index. They could prove trouble for the Bengals again, much like they did in last year’s wild-card game. Remember, it was a pick-six by Watt that that put the then-rookie on the map and also broke open a 10-10 tie in the second quarter. The Texans rolled from there, winning 31-10.
“Houston will not win big again like they did last year. But they are good enough to hold on and advance to New England in the divisional round.
Game in Review: J.J. Watt and company did not dominate the game, but they did control it well almost wire to wire, sacking Dalton twice while holding the Bengals to just 80 yards on the ground. Most importantly, the suffocated Cincy in third down: the Bengals converted just 0 of 9, with 1 of 2 success on fourth down. Tough to win games when you can’t convert a single third down.
The Houston offense, however, will have to improve dramatically in New England. The Texans settled for four field goals and scored just one touchdown.
Minnesota at Green Bay (-9.5)
Our pick: Green Bay 31, Minnesota 17
Final score: Green Bay 24, Minnesota 10
Result: A win for CHFF (2-0 straight up; 1-1 ATS)
What we said: “The substitution of Joe Webb for Ponder at quarterback for the Vikings has obviously moved the market. With or without Christian Ponder, the Vikings were going to rely heavily on Peterson. They will rely on him even more heavily now with Webb at QB … the Green Bay defense, No. 4 in Defensive Passer Rating, presents just too much of a mismatch for an untested quarterback out of a small school with limited NFL experience. NFL games are largely about the QB, especially in the postseason, and the Packers are vastly better in that battle.”
Game in Review: In a sport that’s largely all about the quarterback, inexperienced Webb vs. record-setting Aaron Rodgers was no contest. The Packers passer was razor sharp (23 of 33, 274 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT), while Webb struggled to connect all night (11 of 30, 180 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT). Coupled with a Green Bay defense that finally contained Peterson for the first time in three meeting this year, and the Packers won by the 14-point margin we anticipated.
Indianapolis at Baltimore (-7)
Our pick: Baltimore 27, Indianapolis 17
Final score: Baltimore 24, Indianapolis 9
Result: A win for CHFF (3-0 straight up; 2-1 ATS)
What we said: “The Quality Stats comparisons fall heavily in Baltimore’s favor here. The Ravens enjoy huge edges in just about every key category except for our Quality Standings, where the Colts have a slight advantage. Even in the passing game, where the ever-mediocre Joe Flacco runs the show for the Ravens, Baltimore has sizable advantages over Andrew Luck and the Colts.
“Defensively, the story is pretty much the same, as the Ravens’ defense, while not nearly as dominant as in years past, still ranks among the top 12 in several key categories and is clearly a much better unit than Indianapolis’ shaky squad .. look for a big day out of Ray Rice against the terrible Colts run defense to ease the load on the under-achieving Flacco and power the Ravens to victory.’
Game in Review: Ray Rice did not have the big game we anticipated. In fact, the powerful, sure-handed runner lost two fumbles and was outshined by unheralded teammate Bernard Pierce (13 carries, 103 yards), who abused Indy’s overmatched defensive front.
In either case, the Ravens still had plenty of juice to win, while the many flaws of Andrew Luck’s hugely inefficient game (51.8%, 5.3 YPA, 59.8 rating) were obvious on Sunday, and compounded by several drops. We noted Indy’s passing inefficiency all season, even as the football establishment went nuts for Luck. It was only a matter of time before they came up small, very small, in a big moment.
Seattle (-3) at Washington
Our pick: Seattle 27, Washington 21
Final score: Seattle 24, Washington 10
Result: A win for CHFF (4-0 straight up; 3-1 ATS)
What we said: “The Seahawks have proven something on the road down the stretch, outmuscling a fairly good Bears team in Chicago and then dropping 50 points on Buffalo in Toronto in their final two road games … At the end of the day, the Seahawks are simply playing more impressively down the stretch than even the red-hot Redskins, whether at home or on the road. Seattle also boasts a league-high 5 Quality Wins and boasts the best defense in football. In short, Seattle is the better team and should advance to the divisional round.
Game in Review: The Redskins came out swinging behind a healthy Robert Griffin III, taking a 14-0 lead early in the game. But the Seahawks settled down and largely dominated the game over the final three quarters – their superiority compounded by the performance of the clearly wounded RGIII.
We’ve been waving teal Seahawks pom-poms most of the year, while singing the praises of Russell Wilson long before it was popular. Seattle now has every chance in the world to go into Atlanta and stop the No. 1-seed Falcons dead in their tracks.
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